Original Research

Predictors of short‐ and long‐term mortality in hospitalized veterans with elevated troponin

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Cardiac troponin elevation is associated with mortality. We compared the mortality risk related to elevated troponin from acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and non‐ACS causes in a hospitalized elderly veteran population.

METHODS AND RESULTS

As part of a quality initiative at our Veterans Affairs hospital, all patients with elevated troponin were evaluated by a cardiologist to determine if ACS was present and to recommend management. We selected a sample (n = 761) of consecutive patients studied between February 2006 and February 2007 and examined all‐cause mortality over extended follow‐up. Nearly all were men (99.1%), and about half had coronary disease (n = 385, 50.5%) and diabetes (n = 339, 44.4%). ACS patients had lower mortality that non‐ACS patients. Mortality began to diverge at 30 days; at 1 year it was 42.0% versus 29.0% (odds ratio [OR]: 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.41‐0.78) and at 6 years 77.7% versus 58.7% (OR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.30‐0.56). Cox regression models for mortality at multiple time points yielded several independent factors associated with mortality; however, the distribution of the factors was not sufficient to explain the observed difference in mortality.

CONCLUSIONS

In this elderly, male veteran population, mortality related to an elevated troponin was higher at 1 and 6 years for non‐ACS patients compared with ACS patients. Factors independently associated with a higher mortality risk were predominantly markers of general systemic illness, but did not elucidate the reasons why troponin elevation secondary to non‐ACS causes carries this higher risk. A better understanding of these cardiac troponin elevations and implications for future mortality requires additional investigation. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2016;11:773–777. © 2016 Society of Hospital Medicine

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